Thrown and altered bowls
What else would you do with your freshly thrown bowls. Made with a skill that’s taken you years to develop but has been used for making functional pottery for thousands of years.
Why……run them over with your car.
This was one of those, ‘I wonder what happens if’, moments. I didn’t think about what might be made or what the outcome would be, although I was fairly confident it would be more two dimensional than my usual work. As with all things this seems like a really simple idea but it didn’t work first time. I used my own car; It’s much heavier than this little Polo. Let’s just say the outcome was unrecognisable, even as clay.
I made other mistakes, from getting dust from my feet, hands and apron all over the inside and outside of this car, to splattering the clay all over the drive. I was unpopular for both these minor misdemeanors, the owner didn’t appreciate my need to run clay over.
Eventually I figured out that I needed to either roll over the freshly throw vessel in second gear or reverse over it for best results. There needed to be substantial cloths both below and above and it worked better if there was some decoration on the thrown form. After a good deal of thinking and rethinking these are some of the pieces that are starting to emerge.
Roadkill (2018) Purple, Green and Blue
White earthenware clay fired to cone 6 with copper carbonate and embroidery thread
I have started to think of these pots as metaphors for parenting. You learn a skill (parenting), do your best for years until you reckon you’ve got it nailed. Then, your child goes to university and does their best to undo all that good work (that’s the running over bit) and you just have to hope the thing turns out ok in the end. I suppose that why I reform the clay into vessels again instead of leaving them flat. Wishful thinking?
I’ve always tried not to think about my work in this way because it’s so subjective and personal and I know the materials don’t read the way I see them. I’ve never been keen on work which is overtly autobiographical. In my head I call it self-indulgent whilst on the surface I often smile and show limited approval.
I do understand the viewers reading of these pieces. I relate to the ubiquity of the vessel, its place in culture and the understanding of deconstruction. I realise the materials are complementary and contradictory at the same time. I just can’t help being influenced by my current status as (fairly) empty nester.
The fact is I’m considering a wholly autoethnographic account for my PhD. How utterly self-absorbed is that?
I’ve been reading the ethnographic I by Carolyn Ellis, her methodological novel about autoethnography. More and more I see the value of this research and its place in the social sciences. I am slightly perturbed by this turn of event, but then I didn’t come to this research degree intending to follow a rigid and predetermined path.